United Kingdom | Plans to keep illegal immigrants in military camps and ships
Defence Redefined
Published on 30/03/2023 at 18:21

The UK government will house immigrants illegally crossing the English Channel at military bases and is considering even taking them on ships, Immigration Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made tackling immigration a priority for his government and has introduced legislation that would see the immediate deportation of anyone who arrives in the country illegally, mainly through the English Channel.

Jenrick unveiled the plan, which would see asylum seekers housed in two camps in the south-east and east of England, as the government tries to cut the £6.8m-a-day (around €7.7m) cost, which it spends, according to reports, on the accommodation of immigrants in hotels.

However, the plans have already sparked backlash from human rights groups and even from within the government. Foreign Secretary James Cleverley criticized the proposal to use a military base in his constituency of Essex.

In fact, he added that Ministers were considering using ships to house immigrants, citing the fact that the Scottish Government is using a ship docked in Glasgow to house refugees from Ukraine.

Also read: Great Britain | Over 45,000 immigrants crossed the English Channel in 2022

Sunak told his Cabinet on Tuesday that the cost of using hotels and the pressure it puts on local communities means it is not unsustainable. At the same time, the British Prime Minister stressed that children cannot be excluded from the plan to arrest illegal immigrants crossing the Channel, in order to avoid creating a factor of attraction for immigrants.

Council of Europe human rights commissioner, Dunia Mijatovic, earlier this week asked British MPs to oppose the government’s irregular immigration bill, saying it was inconsistent with the country’s international obligations.

The bill, which is backed by many Tory MPs but criticized by rights groups such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, would see immigrants who enter Britain illegally be sent back to their countries of origin or to a safe third country such as Rwanda, based on an agreement that London has already signed with this African country.

At the same time, illegal immigrants caught will be permanently banned from entering Britain.

Also read: United Kingdom – Albania | Cooperation to deport immigrants crossing the English Channel




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